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CIHR NSERC SSHRC Tri Council Policy Statement Integrity in


									   The truth and nothing but the truth:
Exploring data presentation, manipulation
             and fabrication.
       Heidi McBride, University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
                         613 761 4701

     •The responsibility of the scientist (that means YOU).
              •What motivates data fabrication?
                     •What are the rules?
                 •Avoiding honest mistakes
                  •How you will get caught.
           To be a scientist…..

              We are truth seekers.
 We hope that finding the truth will help humanity.
           Science is based on trust.

          Responsibilities of the Scientist:

                    1. Honesty
                2. Open-mindedness
            3. To question and be critical
        4. To respect, support, and mentor
5. To be transparent to peer review and to the public
What motivates data fabrication?
Motivation             Examples

Fear          The boss has a grant/paper/talk due.
              My boss will be mad.

Panic         I’ve been here too long, am running out of time.
              We will be scooped.

Glory         My hypothesis will win me a Nobel prize.

Greed         This Nobel-worthy discovery = money.

Apathy        Nobody will read it anyway.

Frustration   The reviewers don’t believe me so I’ll fix it!
              What are the rules?

CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC Tri-Council Policy Statement: Integrity in
Research and Scholarship has adopted the wording of US Office
of Research Integrity.

“Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or
plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in
reporting research results.”
   The Journal of Cell Biology Simple Rules.

   “No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved,
   removed, or introduced.

   The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels,
   fields, or exposures must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (e.g.,
   using dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend.

   Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if they are
   applied to the whole image and as long as they do not obscure or eliminate any
   information present in the original.

   Nonlinear adjustments (e.g., changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the
   figure legend.”

What’s in a Picture? The temptation of image manipulation.
The Journal of Cell Biology,
Volume 166, Number 1, July 5, 2004 11–15
Falsification of Data: Some examples.

                     The committee cited "elimination of bands on blots,
                     altered orientation of bands, introduction of lanes not
                     included in the original figure, and covering objects or
                     image density in certain lanes," the statement says.

                                              Discussed in
                                              Science 17 October 2008
                                              Vol. 322. no. 5900, p. 356
   Charges of fabrication target cloning pioneer
     News reports raise doubts on research
                               Boston Globe.

Hwang, W.S., et al. 2005. Patient-Specific Embryonic Stem Cells Derived from
Human SCNT Blastocysts. Science 308:1777-1783.
JCB Editors find these cells have been
placed together in a collage.

 From P.I.s whose spliced images were

 “The pictures for the wild type were done
 as a collage of cells… We have left the
 pictures like that, because we think it
 looks nicer.”

 “We combined cells from several fields
 into a single image to make this image
 more representative of the phenotype we
 have observed.”

            J Cell Biol. 2004 July 5; 166(1): 11–15.
 JCB Editors find the background signal
 was removed.

Rossner cites the following comment of a
student to a P.I.:
“Stamp means you can use stamp function
to remove some background. Everybody
does it.”

            J Cell Biol. 2004 July 5; 166(1): 11–15.
                 Most misdeeds are innocent.
Scientists and journal editors say that most
questionable image manipulation can be traced to
inexperienced students or lab staff who are unclear
about what is allowable. "It's junior people tidying up
the image and not realizing that what they're doing is
wrong," says Richard Sever, executive editor for the
Journal of Cell Science, based in Cambridge, UK.

                                              "The temptation comes from the fact
                                              that you have to sell a clear-cut story,"
                                              Misteli says. Tweaking images is also
                                              seductive in a way that adjusting
                                              statistics is not, because of the natural
                                              human desire to create an aesthetically
Rossner estimates that roughly 20% of
                                              pleasing picture.
accepted manuscripts contain at least
one figure that has to be remade
because of inappropriate image

                                                            Nature 434, 952-953 (21 April 2005)
                        Avoiding honest mistakes.
                       2/3 of retracted papers claim to be unintentional errors.

-always remember that your job is to find the truth.

-if it feels wrong, it probably is.

-garbage in = garbage out. if you can’t see the data with your eyes, it is not worth
pursuing. Period.

-know your experiment: the “kit generation” of scientists are at a disadvantage, but
ignorance is no excuse

-insist on comprehensive training with all equipment.

-know your statistics, design objective experiments.

-be critical of all the work around you, speak up.

-take detailed notes and be vigilant with your lab book – only this can save you.

-never become attached to an idea, try your hardest to prove yourself wrong.
               How you will get caught.

• Science is self-correcting.
• Journals are increasingly vigilant in screening raw data
     (Editors ask to see raw data from 25% of JCB papers, and figures are remade.)
• Software is being developed to identify data manipulation
• Journals are requiring detailed information on acquisition parameters
• Journals are moving towards the direct uploading of raw data
Journal Editors take this very seriously.
      “All digital images in manuscripts accepted
      for publication will be scrutinized by our
      production department for any indication of
      improper manipulation. Questions raised
      by the production department will be
      referred to the Editors, who will request the
      original data from the authors for
      comparison to the prepared figures. If the
      original data cannot be produced, the
      acceptance of the manuscript may be
      revoked. Cases of deliberate
      misrepresentation of data will result in
      revocation of acceptance and will be
      reported to the corresponding author's
      home institution or funding agency.”

      The Journal of Cell Biology, Instructions to
What do you have to lose?

• your privilege of higher education
• your grants
• your job
• your career
• your integrity

•Negatively impacts the Institute
•Negatively impacts the public perception of science
•Negatively impacts clinical trials and human life
•Slows the progress of science
•Wastes valuable resources to reproduce incorrect data.
Outline: Introduction to scientific integrity, policies at uOttawa and OHRI,
and proper use of scientific tools.

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